Ranking the 2013 Boston Red Sox Roster: Players 16-20
The Boston Red Sox have about two weeks to go before the season kicks off against the New York Yankees. John Farrell still has some tough decisions to make and also has had some injuries start to effect the Red Sox team depth.
When it was announced that David Oritz was going to be shut down by the team for five to seven days, everyone assumed the worst. It is possible that Ortiz will miss a significant amount of time this season, but the Red Sox are far better equipped to handle losing Ortiz this season.
The DH options for the Red Sox include Mike Napoli and Mike Carp. If the Red Sox offense can survive the first weeks of the season without Ortiz and still get off to a strong start, Boston will be in great shape.
Boston is also dealing with the absence of free agent shortstop Stephen Drew, who has missed the past week due to a concussion, potentially opening the door for another player to make the team.
Veteran lefties Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales are on the shelf right now, but the Red Sox still have Andrew Miller and this will allow Boston to take an extended look at Clayton Mortensen and Alfredo Aceves without losing any pitching depth to start the season.
Shane Victorino has returned from playing in the World Baseball Classic and the Red Sox have to hope that Victorino starts to resemble the player that Boston committed $39 million to this past offseason.
Reliever Alfredo Aceves continues to be a headache for the team and it might be something that the Red Sox simply decide that they don't want to deal with and make a change here in the near future before breaking camp.
There is also the prospect of potential deals in the coming days, with the Red Sox having extra catching, relievers and spare outfielders who might not make the team.
Boston has started to make cuts by sending players back to the minor leagues. Within the next week, the Red Sox will likely announce more cuts in order to lessen the amount of players in camp.
This is the third-part in a six-part series examining the Red Sox 2013 roster. The players listed here would be players 16-20 on the current roster.
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20. David Ross
David Ross was signed to a two-year contract this offseason from the Atlanta Braves and he figures to be far more than a traditional backup this season for Red Sox.
Given the defensive abilities and limitations of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway, Ross could have a profound impact on the pitching staff and might end up being the starter by mid-season.
It could be telling that the first move of John Farrell's tenure as Red Sox manager this past offseason was signing Ross. As a former MLB pitcher and pitching coach, it just may show how much Farrell values Ross behind the plate.
Ross could prove to be the biggest offseason move by the Red Sox.
19. Junichi Tazawa
After recovering from Tommy John surgery, Junichi Tazawa's return to the Red Sox bullpen has been a revelation.
Tazawa was the best pitcher coming out of the Boston bullpen during the second half of last season and his stuff was nasty in almost every outing.
Tazawa may have replaced Daniel Bard as the potential closer in 2014. This ranking might be a little low given his potential impact on the team.
18. Jonny Gomes
Jonny Gomes right now is penciled in as the starting left fielder and has had a solid spring for the team. Boston seems committed to giving Gomes a shot at an everyday job this season, even with his career struggles against right-handed pitchers.
Gomes biggest potential value to the Red Sox, besides his bat, looks to be his leadership and personality. The Red Sox were in desperate need last season of someone that can unify and lead a locker room, Gomes could be that player.
Looking at the Oakland A's as a surprise team last season, Gomes had a big impact on the clubhouse culture of the team, especially with the young players. If he can have that type of impact on a player like Jackie Bradley Jr., then this signing could be a huge deal for Boston.
17. Koji Uehara
Koji Uehara was a key under-the-radar signing by the team this offseason, one that could pay big dividends as the season unfolds.
Lack of pitching depth has really hurt the Red Sox over the past two seasons, but the staff looks much deeper this season. Uehara is extremely tough on lefties, meaning the Red Sox can weather the early season injuries to Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales.
Uehara allows the Red Sox to entertain trading Andrew Bailey later in the season for something else the Red Sox might need, like a power-hitting minor league first baseman or a starting pitcher.
16. Stephen Drew
Currently sidelined by concussion symptoms, Stephen Drew looked like he would be primed to have a good one-year stop in Boston, similar to Adrian Beltre.
Drew will give the Red Sox solid production in the field and potentially provide the lineup with a good veteran presence at the bottom of the lineup.
Assuming that Drew can remain healthy for a majority of the season, he should be able to have a career average type of season and give the Red Sox a low-risk, high-reward season at short.
Drew comes to Boston without any of the angst or concern that followed his brother J.D. to the Red Sox.
Farrell recently stated that Drew might not be able to start the season, meaning the Red Sox might have to turn to Jose Iglesias, who has played well in his absence and might be on track to start the opener if Drew’s issues continue.
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